Europe's space industry urges the EU's heads of state and government not to make excessive cuts in the Union's budget earmarked for innovation and space.

A week ahead of the EU summit of 7-8 February, which was set to determine the Union's financial framework for the period 2014 to 2020, representatives of the space industry presented and commented on the figures believed to be found in the final version of the budget being negotiated in the three sectors that directly concern them:

- the allocation for the EGNOS and Galileo programmes would be cut from 7 billion (Commission's June 2011 proposal) to 6.3 billion, seen as "acceptable"

- the Space heading in the Horizon 2020 allocation would be maintained at 1.7 billion

- the allocation for the Galileo satellite navigation programme and the Copernicus Earth observation programme would shrink from 5.8 billion to 3.8 billion.

Outside the EU space policy' conference, held at the Commission's premises in Brussels on 29-30 January, the experts were especially critical of the latter cut. "Dropping below 5.8 billion already means we'll be able to do less," said one. "Dropping to 3.8 billion is not acceptable. We find that 4.5 billion would be manageable."


It was stated with some bitterness, in the corridors of the conference, that the states are not showing the same "political attachment" to investing in the future as to traditional spending for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and regional policy. "Admittedly, we can't do everything," said a commentator. "Since political leaders are defending jobs and the environment through agriculture and trans-European infrastructures through regional policy, they reserve research and innovation to the member states. The problem is that, if less effort is made at European level, more would have to be done at national level."

The space industry describes itself as growth-promoting. Its representatives point out that space activities have a multiplier effect on the initial investment of between four and 20, depending on the activity. The European Space Agency (ESA) multiplies by a coefficient of four the industrial return...

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